To help pupils see change as inevitable, though difficult (SEAL theme 7: Changes).
by Manon Ceridwen Parry
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To help pupils see change as inevitable, though difficult, and to encourage ‘mindfulness’ – living in the moment (SEAL theme 7: Changes).
Preparation and materials
- A selection of greetings cards – for instance, Christmas, Easter, birthday, birth of baby, new job, new home.
- Ask if anyone has had a birthday in the last week, or is about to have a birthday.
Ask those who have just had, or are about to have, birthdays how they feel about their birthdays. Are they excited? What presents did they have/might they have?
- Ask all the children how they feel about birthdays. How do they feel about Christmas? Are there any other special days that they look forward to every year?
Discuss the fact that as well as being fun times, these events mark the passing of time in our lives. The days and months and years go by – possibly as we get older we get less excited about our next birthday (one or two of the teachers might be nodding ironically at this point!).
All these occasions mark change – show the new job/new home/birth of baby cards. These cards celebrate exciting times when something new happens, something we’re very pleased about.
- But change isn’t always good. Sometimes people have to get a new job because a factory or a shop closed down; or they move to another town, and they miss their friends.
Sometimes a change feels bad, but you just have to get used to it, and then it’s all right. You might have moved house and been sad at first, but you soon got to know new people and had your old friends and your new friends. So a change that we think will be bad works out to be much better than we’d expected.
Some changes are always sad, though. For example, a friend may move abroad and you may never see your friend again. (It may be appropriate to talk about bereavement here, depending on the context.)
- You can never be sure whether a change will be good or bad. But one thing is certain: all of us here today will be experiencing changes over the next months. Ask for examples.
Change is a feature of life. We have to accept it. We can’t stop time.
Time for reflection
Lots of religious traditions, including Buddhism and Christianity, encourage what they call ‘mindfulness’. That is, they encourage us to live in the moment – not to worry too much about the past or about changes in the future but to be happy living right here, right now, making the most of each moment in our lives.
Do you live in the moment?
(Ask the children to be quiet and close their eyes.)
Think about all the good things in your life right now.
Think about the things that will be changing in the weeks ahead.
Think back to this time last year, if you can.
Now think about all the good things that have taken place since last year.
God, we thank you for change.
Sometimes changes can be hard,
but help us to embrace change,
and enjoy the moments that we have now.
‘Give me oil in my lamp’ (Come and Praise, 43)